We had an incredible first quarter of the year. Just today the two classes of seniors at Met West High School took their “economic decision making” final exam, and with the help of GTA’s amazing interns (two Econ majors at UC Berkeley) we graded all 30 exams in about 3 hours. Phew! (Note to self: don’t give such long exams.) They did well. I have learned so much from these incredible students, and despite their reluctance to do homework they really got into the economic decision making concepts, and I have countless conversational examples of them using best self interest and opportunity cost to analyze the big decisions they face as they approach graduation and “the future”. This is a really lucky group of students, groomed for college by a school of uber-dedicated teachers. More than half will be the first in their family to have a chance at college. We hope to be back at Met West again next year. And hopefully a few of them can come back later in life as GTA instructors.
The next task is to get our hands on some chairs… for the new office! Thanks to the kindness and generosity of our building owner in downtown Oakland, we have two big folding tables just waiting to become the center of a GTA class experience. Next week we are hosting a little happy hour for local friends and donors to warm up the new office, and a group of alumni who took GTA classes at First Place for Youth in 2009, are coming together to devise a recruitment strategy for the first class we will hold in our own space. Some of the most powerful Game Theory Academy moments last year were with young adults who are out of school and haven’t found a steady work or school experience to anchor their adulthood. That’s where we will focus our energies in the spring and summer.
The volunteer help from these two wonderful Econ students from UC Berkeley has been a highlight of 2010. They come to the office on Fridays and help with curriculum development and evaluation. They even wrote a few questions for today’s final exam. Working with them is a joy and a refreshing reminder that not all youth are “at risk”.